« PrejšnjaNaprej »
name, is on the borders of the parish of Llanddewi Brefi; and in the parish of Caio, adjoining the latter, still exists a stone with the following inscription:
AMATOR HIC PAVLIN
VS IACIT CVLTOR PIENT-
The localities being considered, it would appear that this stone commemorated the interment of Paulinus the saint, and not that of a Roman general as has been supposed.* The expression "Servator Fidei" implies that the person interred was a Christian; and the whole inscription consists of two Hexameter lines which belong to a period when Latin versification was more corrupt than at the time of the departure of the Romans from Britain.† Paulinus was commemorated on the twenty second of November under the name of Polin, Esgob, or the bishop.‡
* Cambrian Register, Vol. III. p, 38 and 39.
† A facsimile of the inscription may be seen in the account of Carmarthenshire in Gibson's Camden; and the words when placed in their proper form are:
Servator fidei, patriæque semper amator,
Hic Paulinus jacet, cultor pientissimus æqui.
The last syllable of patriæque is an error in prosody, unless the author intended the u for a vowel, and so formed the end of the word into a dactyl. In the second line he appears to have had for his model the poets before the Augustan age, who frequently omitted the final s, and allowed the vowel preceding to assume its natural quantity; the last u in Paulinus is therefore short. The n in pientissimus must have been quiescent, in which case the vowel before it would be short, as in "pietas" from whence the word is derived. This interesting relic of antiquity lay originally at a place called Pant y Polion, obviously a corruption of Pant Polin; and is now removed for preservation to Dolau Cothi, the seat of J. Johnes, Esq. Cambrian Register, Vol. p. 220.
It would not be proper to close this generation without some notice of Ffraid, for though she was not a Welsh saint, her memory has been held in great respect in the Principality. She is more generally known by the names of St. Bridget or St. Bride, and, according to Llyfr Bodeulwyn,* she was the daughter of Cadwrthai, an Irishman; but other MSS. state that she was of Scottisht parentage, being the daughter of Dwyppws ab Cefyth or Dwpdagws. The Latin life of this saint says that her father, Dubtachus, was an Irishman, and that she was born at Fochart, in the county of Lowth; and Archbishop Usher places the date of her birth in the year 453. The Welsh and Irish accounts agree in describing her as a nun, and it is said that she received the veil from Maccaleus, one of the disciples of St. Patrick. In her native country her celebrity appears to have been exceeded only by that of the great Apostle of Ireland himself, and in Wales no less than eighteen churches and chapels are dedicated to her, as may be seen by the following catalogue.
Diserth, C. Flintshire.
Llansanffraid Glyn Conwy, R. Denbighshire.
Llansanffraid in Mechain, R.-New Chapel, Montgomeryshire.
Capel Sanffraid, in ruins, a chapel to Holyhead, Anglesey.
Llansanffraid, V.-1 chapel, Llannon (St. Non,) Cardiganshire. Llansanffraid Cwmmwd Deuddwr, V.-2 chapels, Llanfadog (St. Madog,) and Nantgwyllt, Radnorshire.
Llansanffraid in Elfael, V. Radn.
Llansanffraid, R. Brecknockshire.
St. Brides Minor upon Ogmor, R. Glamorganshire,
St. Brides Major, V.-3 chapels, Wick, (St. James,) Llamphey (St. Faith,) and "capella de Ugemor,” Glam.
St. Brides super Élai, R. Glam.
St. Brides, alias Llansanffraid, R. Monmouthshire.
Skenfreth, or Ysgynfraith, V. Monm.
St. Brides, in Netherwent, R. Monm.'
St. Brides Wentloog, C. Monm.
* A manuscript cited in the Myv. Archaiology, Vol. II. p. 51.
“O rieni Yscotiaid," meaning of course the Scots of Ireland.
From the extent of the parishes attached, it may be inferred, that the foundations of several of these churches are of considerable antiquity, and seem to belong to the class of those dedicated to St. Michael and St. Peter. There is a vague tradition that St. Bridget visited Wales, which may in some degree account for the homage she has received; but veneration for this holy person has, for some unknown cause of preference, been diffused so widely, that she deserves to be called pre-eminently the saint of the British Isles; for churches have been consecrated to her memory throughout England and Scotland, in the Isle of Man, and especially in the Hebrides. Her remembrance, however, was in no place cherished with more fond assiduity than at Kildare in Ireland, where a sacred fire kindled by her own hands was kept perpetually burning, and according to Giraldus Cambrensis had not been extinguished for six hundred years. Her death is supposed to have happened about A. D. 525, and the first of February was held as a festival in her honour.
Colman was a saint who flourished in Ireland about the same time as Ffraid. Llangolman, subject to Maenclochog, and Capel Colman, subject to Llanfihangel Penbedw, both in Pembrokeshire, are dedicated to him, but it is not known whether he had any personal connexion with that county. He is sometimes called Colman the elder, to distinguish him from another Colman, the third bishop of Lindisfarn.
The Welsh Saints from the Accession of Uther Pendragon A. D. 500, to the Death of Arthur A. D. 542.
THE saints of this generation are exceedingly numerous, and the history of one or two already noticed remains to be concluded.
Dubricius still continued to preside over the see of Caerleon, and it is said that he had the honour of crowning king Arthur. In his time the Pelagian heresy, which for a while had been suppressed by St. Germanus, had increased to such a degree that it required an extraordinary effort to check its progress, and, if possible, to extinguish it. Accordingly a synod of the whole clergy of Wales was convened at Llanddewi Brefi, in Cardiganshire, and the following is the account given of it by Giraldus Cambrensis in his "Life of St. David.”—
"The detestable heresy of the Pelagians, although formerly extinguished through the labours of Germanus of Auxerre, and Lupus of Troyes, when they came over to this island; this pestilence, although once suppressed, sprung up anew, and gave occasion for convening a general synod of all the churches of Wales. All the bishops, and abbots, and religious of different orders, together with the princes and laymen, were assembled at Brefi in the county of Cardigan. When many discourses had been delivered in public, and were ineffectual to reclaim the Pelagians from their error, at length Paulinus, a bishop, with whom David had studied in his youth, very earnestly entreated that that holy, discreet, and eloquent man might be sent for. Messengers were therefore despatched to desire his attendance; but their importunity was unavailing with the holy man, he being so fully and intently given up to
contemplation that urgent necessity alone could induce him to pay any regard to temporal or secular concerns. At last, two holy men, namely Daniel* and Dubricius, went over to him. By them he was persuaded to come to the synod; and after his arrival, such was the grace and eloquence with which he spoke, that he silenced the opponents, and they were utterly vanquished. But Father David, by the common consent of all, whether clergy or laity, (Dubricius having resigned in his favour,) was elected primate of the Cambrian Church."
This is the account generally received, and it is said that St. Dubricius, worn down with years and longing for retirement, withdrew to a monastery in the island of Enlli or Bardsey, where he died A. D. 522. He was buried in the island, where his remains lay undisturbed till A. D. 1120, when Urban, bishop of Llandaff, through the favour of Radulphus, archbishop of Canterbury, obtained the permission of David, bishop of Bangor, and Griffith, prince of North Wales, to remove them.† They were accordingly translated to Llandaff, where they were interred with great pomp and solemnity in the cathedral, which had been rebuilt a short time before from its foundation. But the most remarkable feature in the history of the pro
* Intended for Daniel, the first bishop of Bangor, whose life, to avoid an anachronism, should be placed a full generation later.
Tradition points to the site of the church of Llanddewi Brefi as the spot where this memorable sermon was preached, and Cressy relates, with a devout faith, that the following miracles took place upon the occasion.— "When all the fathers assembled enjoined David to preach, he commanded a child which attended, and had lately been restored to life by him, to spread a napkin under his feet, and standing upon it, he began to expound the Gospel and the Law to the auditory: all the while that this oration continued, a snow-white dove descending from heaven sat upon his shoulders; and moreover the earth on which he stood raised itself under him till it became a hill, from whence his voice like a trumpet was clearly heard, and understood by all, both near and far off; on the top of which hill a church was afterwards built, and remains to this day."
Life of St. Dubricius in Wharton.